GIVE A FRIEND
FREE INTERNET SHIATSU CLASS
The text below
guides you through the basic shiatsu techniques you
will require to give your friend a simple shiatsu treatment.
Rather like talking over problems with a friend
instead of seeeing a proffessional therapist,
shiatsu can be used as a friendly way of swapping
massage treatments using your own intuiative
and natural instincts for healing. I hope
you enjoy the benefits of a regular shiatsu.
I you want to take shiatsu further I suggest
you consider a shiatsu course. If you are
able to travell to London I would be happy
to help you develop these skills.
Our body is essentially
a rhythmic entity. Breathing, heartbeat and
menstruation are obvious examples. We ideally
eat, sleep and have bowel movements at regular
times. One way you can tune into the rhythm
of the person you are giving a shiatsu treatment to
is to breathe with them. Often I will begin
a shiatsu treatment by resting my hand on his or her back
or abdomen and follow their breathing so my
chi as a similar rhythm to theirs.
The primary technique
used in a shiatsu treatmemnt is applying pressure. This
can be done with any part of your body but
is easiest using the palm of your hand. To practice this kneel on the floor
and place a thick cushion in front of you.
and gently rest your palms on the cushion.
Breathe in and then as you breath out lean
forwards moving your weight over your hands.
At the same time imagine you are breathing
chi deep into another person. The skill in
this is to be able to apply the pressure gradually
so your 'shiatsu patient' can relax and feel there
would be plenty of time to let you know if
the pressure is too strong.
Any sudden movements
with this technique risks your friend feeling
nervous. Most people will find it more relaxing
if you can establish a rhythm with applying
the pressure. The key is to move your weight
back and forth rhythmically over your hands
in a way that applies pressure gradually and
slowly, whilst combining the application of
pressure with a long powerful out breathe
and projecting your chi.
As you use your
muscles they produce lactic acid. If this
stays in the muscle fibres it makes it harder
for the fibres to slide across each other,
allowing the muscles to return to their full
length. The result is that your muscles become
shorter leading to stiffness and loss of mobility.
Stretching is an excellent way to free up
chi that has got caught up in knotted muscles.
in shiatsu often have a powerful effect releasing stagnant chi and sometimes
the pent up emotions that go with it. Stretching
someone is an excellent way to help the fibres
slide back to their relaxed position and return
the muscle to its full length.
The key to doing
this successfully is to stretch your friend
slowly and work with them to find a comfortable
limit to how far you can stretch them.
To get rid of
the lactic acids and generally improve circulation
kneading or squeezing soft body tissue is
particularly helpful. We all instinctively
know that giving someone's tense shoulders
a squeeze helps. Again you will have to work
with the person you are giving a shiatsu treatment to,
to work out how firm a squeeze he or she likes.
You can either
squeeze between your thumb and fingers or
grab a handful of flesh and squeeze between
your fingers and palm. Again try to give your
kneading a rhythm. Kneading is a good way
to stimulate chi energy in any deep tissues.
The joints in
the body can become stiff or loose mobility
through under use. As part of a shiatsu treatment
it is helpful to work on various joints by
flexing them fully. It is important to understand
which joints move in which, so I would begin
by experimenting on yourself.
Check how each
joint moves naturally and then work with your
friend to manipulate those joints in him or
her. Never exert undue pressure or try to
force anything when working the joints.
Pounding is an
excellent way to stimulate the surface of
a body. This will activate the chi near the
skin and encourage better blood circulation.
For all types of pounding it is essential
to keep your wrists loose, so that the motion
stems from your elbows and your hands merely
flop up and down on relaxed wrists.
technique is to use the tips of your fingers,
moving through the sides of your hands, palms,
loose fists and the strongest being two hands
clasped together. Certain parts of the body,
such as the skull need to be treated very
lightly whilst others, like the buttocks can
be pounded strongly.
This is similar
to reiki in that you can simply place your
palm on any part of the person that you feel
needs attention. Try to co-ordinate your breathing
with your friend and on every out breath imagine
you are projecting your chi deep into your
To give a shiatsu
you can use various parts of your body to
create different effects. Here we will just
consider different ways in which you could
apply pressure and project chi.
This is the easiest
to start with and will provide even pressure
over a larger area.
are ideal for applying specific pressure to
are useful when you want to apply strong pressure
over a small area to a part of the body, such
as shoulders, buttocks or upper legs.
You knees will spread pressure over a large
area and can be used to apply strong pressure.
are ideally suited to giving a massage. They
cover a wide area, are soft, flexible, can
provide considerable pressure and of all the
options the least tiring to use.
GIVING A SHIATSU
I have put together
a short sequence for giving a friend a back shiatsu
treatment. My intention is to incorporate
a range of techniques for your to try and
Start by asking
your friend to sit in a chair or kneel on
the floor, ideally wearing loose cotton clothing.
Rest your hands on his or her shoulders and
initially just concentrate on following your
friend's breathing. This will act as a form
of meditation in which you can let thoughts
enter your head - giving you subtle information
about your friend's physical and emotional
Now you can begin
by gently squeezing the shoulders, with both
hands grab the shoulder muscles. Squeeze them
rhythmically, experimenting with using your
fingers and thumbs or whole hands. You should
be able to find a long muscle running along
the top of the shoulders. Work along the full
length from the neck to shoulders, making
the massage progressively stronger until you
reach a comfortable level.
Next place you
forearms on your friend's shoulders, close
to his or her neck, lean forward, breathing
chi into this area. You can repeat this several
times slowly moving out from the neck. If
your friend likes particularly strong pressure
here I suggest you press onto his or her shoulders
with your elbows.
To stretch the
upper back ask your friend to clasp his or
her hands behind your neck and then supporting
his or her back with your front, lean back
slowly so you stretch the arms upward. Repeat
this several times and then try squeezing
the shoulders again. They should feel more
Finish the shoulders
by pounding them with a loose fist and relaxed
wrists. I like to finish this part by putting
my hands on his or her shoulders again to
see how my friend's breathing has changed.
Now ask your friend to lie on his or her front
on the floor,.
You can put several
layers of cotton towels on the floor to make
them more comfortable. If your friend has
any kind of stiff neck you may need to put
a cushion under his or her chest.
Kneel next to
your friend and place on hand on his or her
back. Take a minute to re-connect with your
friend by breathing together whilst listening
to his or her body.
or kneel astride your friend and place your
palms on his or her upper back. Breathe in
and as you breathe out smoothly lean your
weight over your hands. Work with your friend
to find out how much pressure feels good.
Continue to press on each out breath as you
work down the back until you reach the buttocks.
Now you can repeat
the same thing but this time apply the pressure
using your thumbs. They should be spaced about
one thumb width from the centre of your friend's
spine. Keep your fingers open as you do this
so your own chi flows freely from your hands.
As you do this you will be following the inner
bladder meridian and activating lots of important
Next stand up
and with the ball of your foot press firmly
and rhythmically into your friend's buttock.
As you do this you should rock him or her
from side to side helping to loosen all the
joints in his or her back. Steady yourself
with a piece of furniture if you feel unsteady.
Now try kneeling
next your friend's upper leg and slowly press
onto the back of the leg with your knee. You
can balance yourself by placing your hand
on his or her lower back and furthest leg.
Work your way from the top of the leg towards
the knee. Be very careful not to apply any
pressure close to the knee. To prevent any
risk of applying pressure to the knee hold
your friend's foot up so the knee is bent
at a right angle.
Next you can
kneel next to your friend's lower leg and
run your thumb along the valley in the centre
of the calf muscle starting at the back of
the knee. About one third of the way down
you will find a powerful acupressure point.
This point is usually quiet sensitive so your
friend will be able to let you know when you
have hit the spot.
Walk down to
your friend's feet and make sure his or her
feet are turned so that the toes are pointing
towards each other and the heels pointing
Now stand with
your toes pointing away from each other, like
Charlie Chaplin, and start to massage the
soles of your friend's feet by standing on
your toes and using your heels to apply pressure.
If you find it hard to balance hold onto a
Next walk round
to your friend's other buttock and work rhythmically
into his or her thigh with your foot. Once
your have completed this pick up the feet,
holding the ankles until the knees just leave
the floor. Gently swing his or her knees side
to side. Work with your friend and see if
you can swing the knees in a way that sends
waves of movement up his or her spine.
of the ankles you can slowly lift the knees
up giving your friend a stretch up the front
of the thighs and into his or her abdomen.
You will need to communicate clearly to find
out how much of a stretch feels right. If
you friend experiences any pain in the lower
back you should stop this stretch.
Place the knees
back on the ground and holding the balls of
his or her feet gently push them down towards
the ground. This will stretch the back of
the ankles. Now you can stretch the feet up
towards the buttocks. Again work with your
friend to get the stretch right. If he or
she is very flexible you may have to put the
feet to the outsides of his or her thighs.
Walk back towards
your friend's head and stand astride his or
her upper back. Lean forward and rhythmically
squeeze the shoulders again. You can even
grab hold of the muscle and pull it towards
you gently to stretch it slightly.
Now you can pound
your friend's back and buttocks. Try using,
the sides of your hands, a loose fist or both
hands loosely clasped together. Finally place
your hand on your friend's back again.
Congratulations, you have completed a simple shiatsu treatment.
Text from the Chi Energy Workbook.
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